Out In The Deserts Of Felicity California, Imagination Runs Wild
Have you ever thought about what the term “centre of the world” means? I haven’t really, to be honest. But now that I think about it, what a fascinating question.
The centre of the world is, in a literal sense, the very middle of the Earth, which is a dense, incredibly hot core thousands of miles below the surface. But from a different perspective, there are lots of different answers.
One of the answers to the question “where is the centre of the world?” is: Felicity California.
Welcome To The Center Of The World
California’s Imperial County, as well as the French government, both recognize the site in Felicity, California, as the official centre of the world. I’ll be honest, it seems (based on extensive internet searching) like they’re the only ones.
One man, Jacques-André Istel, is so convinced that Felicity, California is the centre of the world that he constructed a huge pyramid there, complete with a bronze plate. The plate, a disk set into the pyramid’s floor, marks what Istel considers to be the very middle of everything.
The Bronze Plate
The town itself was founded in 1986. It’s based on a children’s book called “Coe, The Good Dragon At The Centre Of The World”. Mr. Istel is the author of said book. He’s really making dreams come true, this fellow.
So passionate about this supposed centre of the world, he decided to start a town, and name it after his beloved wife, Felicia. The town has a population of two… Mr. and Mrs. Istel.
The Arm of God
Felicity, California also features far more than just the pyramid. In Felicity, you’ll find a three-dimensional bronze sculpture of Michelangelo’s Arm of God. The sculpture acts as a sundial, and the arm points to another attraction: The Hill of Prayer.
The Church at the Hill of Prayer
One of the most fascinating parts of Felicity, California? Check this out. What Mr. Istel calls “The Master Plan”, this aerial view shows just how strategic the design of Felicity is.
Aerial View of “The Master Plan”
Mr. Istel also managed to purchase a section of stairs from the Eiffel Tower’s original staircase at auction in 1989. The stairs are 25 feet high, and installed near the parking lot of this two-person town.
Staircase From the Eiffel Tower
To top it all off, one of the most intriguing attractions in Felicity, California is the Museum of History in Granite. This spectacle consists of 18 granite monuments, each of which are 100 feet long. They’re dedicated to various subjects, among them the History of Humanity, the History of Arizona, the History of French Aviation, the Marine Corps Korean War Memorial, and the History of the French Foreign Legion.
Museum of History in Granite
Who Is Jacques-André Istel?
What an interesting guy! Jacques-André Istel was born in 1929 in Paris, France. His wiki says that he’s a French-American parachutist and investment banker. Later on in his life, he became a passionate historian and that he’s responsible for popularizing parachuting in the United States.
All of this is before he founded his own city and named it after his wife! The Museum of History in Granite is a pretty big deal, by the way. A two-decade effort, it’s the crowning achievement of his life. In 2014, Time Magazine named the design of the Museum one of 24 in America “worth the voyage”.
Mr. Istel has lectured at Princeton, Yale, Harvard, MIT, and West Point.
Can you Visit Felicity?
You sure can visit Felicity. If you’re in the Yuma area, or even just passing through, Felicity is worth a visit. If you do go, and you check out the pyramid and the plaque inside, you’ll get a certificate that’s actually signed by Mr. Istel himself.
So if you find yourself on a road trip through this area, check out the centre of the world! Whether or not you believe it’s actually the centre of the world, this place is loaded with art, innovation, and some really cool culture as well.
Related: Speaking of strange cities, have you seen our article about Slab City in the desert of California?